A technology company in the city of Hefei, west of Shanghai, has attracted more than 100 orders for its holographic lift buttons as Chinese look for ways to avoid touching surfaces that may harbour the Covid-19 virus.
The device works by projecting an image of buttons in the air, and allowing users to "touch" them. The maker, Easpeed, says it can be fitted to all elevators, and has a response time of less than 30 milliseconds.
The system is relatively expensive, at about $2,000, prompting some building owners to opt for retrofitted voice controls, at a cost of around $500.
This has been done in hospitals in Yichang, Hubei Province, and Beijing’s Xiaotangshan Hospital.
Zhu Yongzhi, vice president Easpeed, told Global Times that the accuracy of voice control varied depending on noise levels, and the languages and dialects of the speaker.
He added that his company had received orders from Shanghai, Beijing, and Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province, and that the price may fall once Easpeed begins mass production.
Another approach has been taken by Huawei, which has developed an app that allows users to use a mobile phone to call elevators and select levels.
Meanwhile, those Chinese citizens who find themselves in unimproved lifts have taken their own measures, by using pens, toothpicks and keys to call their transport. Some may even have taken the stairs …
Image: Easpeed’s image of its hologram buttons